Three albums into Max Webster’s catalogue and we finally get to an album that I really, really like instead of love. Actually, Mutiny Up My Sleeve grew on me with its extreme highs this week, so I might enjoy this album even more in the future. As for right now, I do find it is held back from greatness by some dips to average songs or below. I have been shying away from doing writes up where I break down an album song by song because I tend to find the process to be boring. But I think that is the only fair way to treat this album. If I judge it only in comparison to Webster’s previous two albums I would come off overly negative. Which, I don’t want to do because I do really, really like it.
Before we get to the review, I want to mention an important lineup change. Dave Myles took over the bass for Mike Tilka, who stayed with the band to produce the album. Reading this reminded me of the period of time when Bob Rock was the bass player for Metallica. I guess only Canadians can get away with that trick! Alright, on with the countdown:
Lip Service – A+
An excellent start. If fact, the album’s first two tracks are complete aces. Lip Service, specifically, has one hella of a big ‘n beefy ’70s guitar riff. I love Kim Mitchell’s blazing guitar solo and energizing vocal melody. It is just an all-around exceptional hard rock tune.
Astonish Me – A++
I am floored by how keyboardist Terry Watkinson has the only writing credit for this one. Nothing against the guy, but the songwriting A-Team for the band is the lyrics of Pye Dubois with the music of Mitchell. This was like discovering one of your favourite Beatles songs was written by George Harrison instead of Lennon/McCartney. Astonish Me is a fantastic piece of prog. It is beautiful at times, rocking for the rest. Its lyrics gave me the chills. Top-shelf Webster.
Let Your Man Fly – B
Adequate overall but driven by an uninspired blues boogie.
Water Me Down – B
I do really enjoy the “Water me down when I’m down” chorus for this one but this is bland otherwise. It comes off as the budget version of Astonish Me.
Distressed – A
Kim’s guitar licks tie together all of these pieces of prog. He rips a solo while the drums and bass fill and fire in sync like a machine. Great tune.
The Party – A+
Fun fact, this track was recorded live at Seneca College’s Newnham Campus, which is just down the street from me. I pass by it every day during my morning commute!
This is a crackin’ piece of prog. I have heard a few times on the radio… about 15 or 20 years ago when the radio would play the odd cool song. One line from this song has always stuck in my head:
We’re just musicians here to thin the thickness of your skin
At times I feel this blog is here to do the same, lol.
Waterline – D
The blues is just not this band’s forte. They tend to sound thin when they attempt it.
Hawaii – C
Mostly an instrumental with the majority of the lyrics being a couple of spoken word lines from Kim. I originally gave Waterline a “C”, but after listening to this I drop its grade on a curve. Hawaii is OK prog and a fine example of a “C” Webster tune.
Beyond The Moon – A
Webster’s previous two albums had a quality piece of prog with the word “moon” in the title. This continues the tradition. The keys drive the rhythm for this song along with a plethora of drum fills. And Kim shreds all the way through it. High note ending.
So, if we take all of the letter grades for each of the 9 tracks…
1 – A++
2 – A+s
2 – As
2 – Bs
1 – C
…I can use my
Not too harsh, eh?
Get your maximum amount of Webster right here:
High Class In Borrowed Shoes
Mutiny Up My Sleeve
A Million Vacations
Live Magnetic Air
The Party (Box Set)
6 thoughts on “[Album Review] Max Webster | Mutiny Up My Sleeve”
You have to love ‘crackin piece of prog’ Also liked your scoring rating as well
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Oh my friend I have alot to say lol .
Ok . Overall I like rating . However … some specific ratings puzzle me . First of all… Astonish Me is overrated IMO. And Waterline is CRIMINALLY underrated . Let Your Man Fly in underrated . And considering previous ratings ? Beyond the Moon is underrated at just an A.
IMO .. Beyond the Moon is the greatest Mighty Max song of all time. Both lyrically and musically. Now I must go back and see what you have done previous.. and the 2 subsequent albums that follow . Overall a fun and well done review . But … I still cant believe you dissed Waterline so badly .
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Sorry for the late reply. Things have been busy here lately.
I adore Astonish Me. I think it is a perfect song. I don’t know how it is overrated because I haven’t heard anyone rate it before, lol But I imagine you have spoken to others about the song. As for Waterline, you are not the only person to defend it to me. The band just sounds weak to me when they perform the blues. I like my blues to be thick. Clapton is as thin as I can go. As for Beyond the Moon, you are right on that one. I’m re-listening to it now and it might deserve more than an A. It is a great song. Love those keys. The only part I don’t like is the ending. It just fades out. I know that might sound odd. Future me might be more forgiving and up that score.
Though this is my least favourite Max album, that’s kind of like saying it’s a least favourite child. It doesn’t even matter. I got all the Max albums on the same day — I believe it was my birthday 1997. Good ole Tom and T-Rev.
I’m not daring enough to rate each song. I agree with Meat on Waterline, a personal favourite. Let Your Man Fly is also one I find fun. But again, does it matter? They’re just musicians, here to thin the thickness of our skin.
T-Rev used to have the slogan on our marker board:
Now Trevor is the orphan,
Still searching for his roots,
He likes concert blisters and leather boots,
And knows one fact, his act is to get loose!
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I guess I’m in the minority on Waterline and Let Your Man Fly. Three people have now come to their defense. I stand by my opinion on it though. I really don’t care for when this band does the blues.
Overall, I ending up liking this album a lot more than I have on past listens. The prog on it is aces.